Immigration NZ Legislation Changes for Asylum Seekers' Protection

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer

Academics, advocates, and charities unite to address Immigration NZ regarding safeguarding asylum seekers. Concerns raised about proposed legislation allowing up to 28-day detention without a warrant. Auckland University scholars stress importance of children's rights and family unity during detention. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

In this immigration news, the Government’s latest move on asylum seekers, driven by Immigration Minister Erica Stanford, is a sensible and necessary step forward. The new legislation extending the detention period for ‘mass arrivals’ is designed not to punish, but to ensure that asylum seekers receive the legal representation and support they need.

First, let’s acknowledge the reality: New Zealand has never had a mass arrival of asylum seekers. This Bill isn't a reaction to a crisis but a proactive measure to address potential future scenarios. It’s about being prepared, not paranoid. A 2019 review of the Immigration Act pointed out gaps that needed addressing, and Stanford’s amendments are a direct response to those findings.

Stanford’s changes to the Bill show a commitment to humane treatment. The asylum seekers won't be held in prisons or police stations, but in premises approved by the Chief Executive, with weekly court reports to justify the necessity of detention. This isn’t a lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key policy. It’s structured, it’s supervised, and it’s flexible, with judges having the authority to extend the detention period if genuinely required.

Critics, particularly from the Green Party, argue that this Bill mirrors Australia’s controversial detention centres. But let’s be clear: this is not Australia. New Zealand’s approach, includes specific safeguards to uphold human rights. This legislation is about ensuring due process, not circumventing it.

The Government says the extended detention period will allow asylum seekers enough time to access legal representation. This is crucial. Asylum seekers often arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back, and finding legal help takes time. The 96-hour period in the old law was simply too short. Extending it to seven days, with the possibility of 28 days, means asylum seekers can have their cases properly reviewed and represented.

Let's also not forget the bipartisan support this Bill has garnered. National, Labour, ACT, and NZ First all back it, showing that this is not about political point-scoring but about creating robust, humane, and effective legislation.

It’s a necessary step to ensure that New Zealand remains prepared and fair, balancing security with the dignity and rights of asylum seekers. This isn’t about following in Australia’s footsteps; it’s about paving a uniquely New Zealand path that upholds our values and commitments.

And that's Immigration New Zealand news for today. To keep up with the latest immigration news, don't forget to follow and subscribe for more content like this. Ka Kite Ano

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Last modified on 12 June 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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